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54 Hyde St
Adelaide, SA, 5000

Knotley Crew: All Things Interior Design, Indoor Plants and Wanderlust-Inspired Spaces


Knotley Crew: All Things Interior Design, Indoor Plants and Wanderlust-Inspired Spaces

Rachel Darling

If you get excited about trendy spaces - you know the ones with crisp white walls, splashes of colour and exquisite textiles - then lets us introduce you to your newest interior fetish, Knotley Crew. Specialising in hand-made furniture and interior objects that ooze the concepts of travel and the outdoors, this Adelaide brand is doing big and colourful things! From internationally-sourced tiles to restyled vintage tables, Knotley Crew provides the perfect inspirational pieces for your lounge room, bedroom, bathroom... any room that could do with a splash of wanderlust or a hint of a travellers reminiscence.

We sat down with co-creator, Alex Draper, to talk about the brand, its mission and some clever interior design tips for the summer ahead! Prepare yourself for some serious design and style schooling.

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First, tell us a bit about Knotley Crew and the direction you want the brand to take over the warmer months...

Knotley was born out of a mutual revolt against doing something every day that we didn’t love. We quit our jobs and created an environment for ourselves that we do love, dedicating our time to helping people re-create their environments through objects.

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What do you sell?

We do homewares and furniture (at the moment) made with our hands, that bring the outdoors in and the world to your coffee table. Think botanics, world culture and coastal ambiance. These are the three pillars that our designs revolve around. We have a focus on using recycled and fair trade materials, and a percentage of our profits go to Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. A pretty important cause for us! We believe in quality rather than quantity, so we are continually workshopping what we already do. Hand tiled furniture, hand painted art on concrete cube pots, talavera tiled pots, hand painted patterned coaster tile sets, organic cotton rope and recycled copper wall hangings; that captures out current product collection!

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Where can we buy/see your pretty things?

We are in our infancy at the moment and slowly becoming more recognized through word of mouth. We want to start debuting at some markets, and will be rolling out in selected stores too. Home Supply, a brand newie on Grenfell Street, stocking homewares sourced from all over is the next cab off the rank. We’re also pairing up with The Lost Tribe in December to work The Grand Bazaar Market - Gilles St Market on steroids. Get there!

Collaborations will also be a summer focus. We’ve paired up with Lark Skate Co to free-hand paint designs on their reclaimed blackwood skate decks. One design of our three part series is already complete and up on our social media…take a look! The other two parts will follow shortly. A duo with East End Flower Market is dropping in coming days too – Hand painted amber jars to pop your poseys in!

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What do you think are going to be some big interior design trends this summer? 

Interior design trends according to what we HOPE will catch on:

1. Objects for art. Vintage or in some way unique items to decorate your areas. Surfboards, skateboards, old doors, whatever. If it’s got character, incorporate it. We found some old wooden oars once that used to be painted powder blue, which had mostly chipped off at this stage. (picture these propped up above your bed fastened to the wall one crossing over the other!) If you do decide to do something like this, get it fastened professionally. Nothing like an oar smacking you I in the face at 1:00am!

2. Tiles. Not ordinary tiles though. Geometric, hand-painted or oddly shaped. 

3. Bringing the outdoors in. Incorporating nature vibes in your indoor space. Big windows are preferable here! Leafy green and ocean blue hues, plants, anything that conjures up that feeling of being in wide open outdoor spaces.

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List 5 must-haves for the interior design fiend right now:

Listing from importance according to us…

1. Indoor plants (goes without saying). Greenery is key for a calm space. However, there’s nothing less calm than a dead plant. Make sure you’re getting your fingers on some low maintenance varieties and placing them in areas of your home that feature enough light required. Don’t neglect your plant children!

2. Quirky wallpaper or an interior mural. It doesn’t necessarily have to be rampant with colour (but it can be). You’ll be hard at it to find it in store... try Etsy. Do you have an artist friend? A lot of us do. Throw some paint in their hands and get them to mural up your space!

3. LARK ART. Lark Skate Co are a trio of three salty footed rascals that hand shape and hand wood burn cruisers from reclaimed blackwood. Get your mits on one of their decks. They are a sight to see and look delicious as a feature piece on your wall. Art on a board? Yes please. We’re doing a collaboration with these guys now, keep your eyeballs peeled.

4. Pillows and pillow cases! Unnecessary to have more than two pillows on your bed? One pillow isn’t going to prop you up comfortably when you want to watch a movie in bed now is it? Get organized people! Two words: Kerry Cassil - one of our absolute favourite textile designers. Go on her website and peruse the pillow case patterns. P.s king sized pillows exist. Yes.

5. A piece of character furniture. May we suggest one of ours? Whether it be one of our hand tiled coffee table’s made from recycled timber and hand painted tiles from Central Mexico, or our refurbished vintage sideboard. We’re working on this at the moment. We found it broken on the side of the road getting drenched with rain. We’re no professional antique appraisers, but judging by the style, iron handles and fasteners- it's old as shit! We’re keeping the chipped paint, installing vintage metal castor wheels, ripping off the top and replacing it with new (old) wood, and setting our 10cm by 10cm tiles flush on top. Imagine that in your home entrance when people walk in!? 

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In terms of colour and textures, what can we use to set certain moods in our spaces? 

There’s a whole psychology surrounding the effect of colour on mood, but here’s a chopped up version to read in one sitting:

Blue: How’s the serenity? Pretty calm with blue in your space. This colour is intellectually experienced and translates to soothe us.

Red: Like an energetic space? Slap some red in it. Red is physically stimulating and translates to active, alert and passionate emtoions.

Grey: Emotional neutrality – great to use in collaboration with other colours!

Green: The colour of balance. Stimulates refreshment, tranquility and environmental awareness. (easily achieved with plants… real, photographed or painted)

White: Colour of reflection, translates to clarity and purity, great for a heightened perception of space.

Black: Colour of absorption, translated to security and sophistication

Yellow: Emotionally experienced, translates to extraversion, confidence and creativity.

Brown: Colour of gentle support, translates to warmth, earthiness and reliability.

It’s true, trust us. One of us quit a job in Psych. 

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What are some quick and cost effective ways to jazz up a space? 

Are you arty? Give it a go… White or neutrally coloured cushions? Get a packet of fabric dye and tie dye them. A favorite of ours is a navy and white colour scheme. Not feeling it in your bathroom? Try a hanging plant! Take a look at what you already have and rearrange it. You don’t have to always buy a bundle more for your space to feel fresh.

Artwork is always handy, make it classic and something that you’ll always look at and feel something. DON’T make it trendy, you’ll want to ditch it in two years’ time. If you aren’t allowed to hang anything from your walls be innovative. Rest it on an easel in your entrance next to a tall plant, if it’s ultra-large and you have nice floorboards, rest it against the wall on the floor next to a potted cactus. We’re real plant advocates.

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We know it's hard to choose, but which is your absolute favourite Knotley Crew piece at the moment? 

Hands down the Canggu Coffee Table. A while ago I was on a bit of a mission to buy a coffee table that was an exact representation of the picture I had in my head, which was a textured hardwood frame with inset blue and turquoise tiles. Needless to say I was pretty unsuccessful in my pursuit, so I thought to myself ‘Dad will show me how to do it’.

Whilst I was in Indonesia, I went on a tile hunt, and since I was unsuccessful in that, too, I recruited a local to help me. Driving back from Canggu, Wayan, my motorbike driver took me to demolition sites, down a million backstreets and helped me rummage. Underneath some mismatched broken bits of ceramics I found them. Dirt and all, they were exactly what I wanted. So for $5.40 I made them mine and carted them around Indo for the next month...real smart. Eventually smuggling them back to Aus.

The wood used is a red hardwood recycled from train track posts from what looks like a very long time ago. It was such a mission to make this vision real. I recruited my Dad because he’s made so much of the furniture around our family home. I know he’d know exactly what to do. We had to slice the wooden slabs in three, and we had one chance to get them perfectly straight. Essentially no room for error with this one. One cut hand and a few swear words later we had 'The Canggu.' Better than what I had pictured, with so much collective effort from across the sea and using materials with a story.

This was the inspiration to continue with the theme of fair trade tiles, detail done by hand, with recycled timber. So that we can pass on the tale of the piece to the buyer. All one of a kind.

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Do you have a certain space of your own that inspires you? Perhaps where you make your Knotley Crew creations? Tell us about that:

My spaces are forever changing, to be honest. As soon as I’ve finished a concept it’s ready to be redesigned. It’s nice to keep things fresh and exciting and you can do that by rearranging what you already have, as well as perusing the city council website to scope the hard rubbish areas in your town. We don’t have a singular space where we create. We get restless so if it’s sunny, we’re outside somewhere, even when it’s not. The Panama Cube we made for our friend Kirsty Cane was detailed in the car, parked at the beach, watching the waves whilst it was raining. We love the flexibility that currently, the nearby world is our studio. Hopefully we can expand it in the not too distant future.

All images provided by Knotley Crew